The Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) is a Chicago, Illinois-based center-left election reform advocacy group formed in 2012. The organization pushes for left-of-center voting policies and election administration. It has a wide reach into local elections offices across the nation and is funded by many left-of-center funding organizations such as the Skoll Foundation, the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.   
Tiana Epps-Johnson, Donny Bridges, and Whitney May, the founders of the Center for Tech and Civic Life, were co-workers at the New Organizing Institute (NOI) for several years before the organization dissolved in 2015.  NOI, described by a Washington Post reporter as “the Democratic Party’s Hogwarts for digital wizardry,” was a major training center for left-of-center digital activists over the decade of its existence.  Additionally, a few members of CTCL’s board of directors have strong ties to Democratic political operations, notably Tammy Patrick, a senior advisor to the elections program at Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund, and Cristina Sinclaire, who was previously employed by NOI as well as by the progressive data service Catalist. 
In the months leading up to the 2020 election, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated a total of $350 million to CTCL. CTCL then donated the funds in the form of grants to various jurisdictions throughout the United States to help them hire more staff, buy mail-in ballot processing machinery, and other measures they deemed necessary to properly handle the election amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  
According to its website, Center for Technology and Civic Life was founded in 2012 by Tiana Epps-Johnson, Whitney May, and Donny Bridges.  The three co-founders have a long history in election policy with May being a former election official. The goal of the organization at its founding was to use data to streamline election administration and increase turnout in American elections. The organization has several programs and initiatives focused on election data and outreach to local election officials. 
However, the group’s tax-exempt status was officially recognized on March 24, 2015 according to a “Final Letter” from the IRS. Though the letter was dated March 24, 2015, the letter also states that the effective date of exemption was October 23, 2014. Interestingly, the address listed was the same address as the New Organizing Institute’s, the group where all three CTCL founders previously worked.  This means that the Center for Tech and Civic Life was created and operational within the New Organizing Institute’s offices before the New Organizing Institute was dissolved amid scandal in 2015.
New Organizing Institute (NOI)
Main Article: New Organizing Institute (NOI)
When it was still in operation, Epps-Johnson, May, and Bridges all worked together at the New Organizing Institute (NOI), a now-defunct left-progressive group which trained digital organizers and campaigners for the Democratic Party and left-of-center political causes. Epps-Johnson began working for NOI in 2010 as a deputy data manager of the organization’s Voting Information Project. She was then promoted to manage the project and eventually became NOI’s election administration director.  May joined NOI in 2012 to work as its liaison to state election officials for the Voting Information Project and later acted as the liaison to election officials for the organization’s election administration department.  Bridges started in 2011 and directed a variety of research projects on candidates, elections, and ballot questions. 
The New Organizing Institute was originally founded in 2004 (launched in 2005) by Zack Exley, a radical activist with MoveOn.org (later an adviser to Sen. Bernie Sander’s 2016 presidential campaign and an Open Society Foundations fellow), and Judith Freeman, a political strategist for the AFL-CIO and later adviser to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.  
In July 2014, a reporter for the Washington Post published a piece covering the New Organizing Institute, calling it “the Democratic Party’s Hogwarts for digital wizardry” and “the Left’s think tank for campaign know-how.” 
The piece detailed how NOI trained activists, campaign staffers, and nonprofit employees in digital technology such as HTML coding, voter outreach via email lists and social media adverts, donor outreach and fundraising methods, tips for spreading online video content, and proper eye-catching online messaging. The article explained that the impetus behind the Institute’s formation was the desire of Democratic Party operatives for their field workers to be trained in the latest digital techniques perfected by the Obama presidential campaign during the 2012 election. By spreading the latest skills in coding, social media, and internet advertising to as many left-of-center activists as possible, NOI could diffuse digital learning through the progressive movement as those activists went on to different places in their careers, giving a lasting advantage to Democrats. 
NOI often collaborated with the Funders Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP) and was part of the Democracy Alliance’s (DA) portfolio of groups recommended for donations from DA members. The Democracy Alliance is a collective of left-of-center unions, policy groups, and major donors that coordinates political spending to key infrastructure groups ahead of elections. 
NOI offered fiscal sponsorship services to other left-of-center groups seeking sponsorship until obtaining standalone tax-exempt status from the IRS. NOI charged fees for this service: “5% of every donation” to the sponsee, “3% of crowdfunding” funds raised by the sponsee, and “50% of office space” expenses. Funders could donate directly to NOI in support of sponsored groups. 
In February 2015, eight senior staff members (including Epps-Johnson, May, and Bridges) and an unknown number of the “20 or so” lower level staffers of the New Organizing Institute quit en masse. The day prior, senior staff members had presented an ultimatum to the New Organizing Institute board demanding the resignation of executive director Ethan Roeder due to alleged financial mismanagement which had left the organization on the verge of insolvency. The board, led by Judith Freeman, refused to remove Roeder. 
After the walkout, Freeman vowed to continue the New Organizing Institute, but the Institute and the Education Fund would dissolve eight months later. In an October press release, Freeman announced that NOI’s core training program would be absorbed by Wellstone Action (now RePower). 
After NOI shuttered, Epps-Johnson, May, and Bridges all turned their focus on CTCL, bringing the digital activist skills they had learned at NOI to their fledgling nonprofit.
The Center for Technology and Civic Life has two main programming areas: “civic data” (a term it uses for election and candidate information), and training for election officials. CTCL has assembled resources to collect data from nearly every local election office; covering candidates on the ballot for each race, information describing those offices, and contact information for elected officials. The organization boasts that more than 250 million voters have accessed its data and that CTCL acts as a major supplier of ballot data for tech giants Facebook and Google. Additionally, Rock the Vote, the Women Donors Network, and the Voting Information Project have all used data provided by CTCL. 
The Center for Tech and Civic Life also hosts an annual conference for election officials and left-of-center election policy activists. Left-leaning advocacy organizations represented at the CTCL’s 2019 conference included the Democracy Fund, “e.thePeople” (part of the League of Women Voters), Metric Geometry & Gerrymandering Group, We Vote, MapLight, Democracy Works, and the National Institute on Money in Politics. 
The center has a network of hundreds of election offices across the nation and works to train election officials. CTCL provides courses to election offices and travels to offices (for a fee of $5,000) to help local officials collect data, build websites, and develop messages to motivate voters. The center also operates ElectionTools.org, which provides free templates and forms for use by election officials. 
Webinars for 2020 Election Officials
In 2018, CTCL began providing cybersecurity training for election officials. CTCL claims it provided information about potential threats to the election process and ways to prevent them from happening. As of March 2020, 1,000 election officials completed the training, including 400 in Virginia. Ahead of the 2020 elections, CTCL worked in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Education to deliver cybersecurity trainings to more than 750 election workers in the state.  
On January 6, 2020, CTCL collaborated with the Center for Civic Design and the National Vote at Home Institute on three webinars about voting by mail. The webinars were entitled “Implementing envelope best practices,” “Preparing helpful supplementary materials,” and “Integrating low-cost tracking and reporting tools.” The webinars aimed to educate election officials on helping constituents vote by mail. The webinars covered topics such as mail ballots and envelopes, adapting national templates for local needs, the best ways to prioritize information to give to voters, and tools for tracking ballots. 
On May 28, 2020, CTCL posted a webinar entitled “Ensuring access, equity, and inclusion,” which concerned the types of demographic groups CTCL wished to target with voter participation outreach campaigns. The presentation identifies people with “language barriers,” “displaced voters,” and “hard-to-reach voters” as those in need of CTCL’s assistance in making voting more accessible. 
On June 16, 2020, CTCL released a webinar entitled “Organizing Ballot Dropoff Locations,” a tutorial on how election officials should manage the ballot dropoff process. It encouraged election offices to show eligible voters how they can engage in this method of voting, especially voters in communities with lower vote-by-mail registrations. 
On July 30, 2020, CTCL posted a webinar entitled “Combatting Election Misinformation” as a resource to help election officials be “reliable source[s] of information” to combat misinformation. It justified the need for election officials to combat misinformation citing Russian interference in the 2016 election, and claimed Donald Trump himself has been a source of disinformation. The webinar encourages the reporting of social media posts when they are suspicious of being misinformation and provides instructions on how to do so. It also encourages election officials to establish relationships with factcheckers and journalists to make spreading factual information easier. 
2020 Elections COVID-19 Grants
Program and Zuckerberg Funding
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Tech and Civic Life began to play an active part in the effort led by the Democracy Fund to normalize mail-in ballots in the 2020 general election. CTCL has held remote trainings and provides resources on voting by mail for election officials. 
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated a total of $350 million to CTCL in the months leading up to the 2020 election, funds which were passed along as grants to numerous county and city elections officials across the U.S. to help them hire more staff, purchase ballot dropboxes, buy mail-in ballot processing machinery, and other measures they deemed necessary to properly handle the election amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  
By November 2020, CTCL had given grants to over 2,500 election offices throughout the United States. A map, as well as a list, of all the jurisdictions which received CTCL funding is available on its website.  CTCL asked its recipients how they would spend their grants; almost 2,000 indicated they would be using the funds to upgrade their mail-in ballot processing capabilities, and an estimated 750 said they would be funding voter education efforts. 
- Ballot drop boxes
- Drive-through voting
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff, poll workers, or voters
- Poll worker recruitment funds, hazard pay, and/or training expenses
- Polling place rental and cleaning expenses
- Temporary staffing support
- Election department real estate costs, or costs associated with satellite election department office
- Vote-by-mail/Absentee voting equipment or supplies
- Election administration equipment
- Voting materials in languages other than English
- Non-partisan voter education
Targeting Swing States
In August 2020, CTCL announced that it had donated $6.3 million to five cities in Wisconsin, a swing state in the upcoming election. The organization explained that the funds are meant to ensure Wisconsin has a “safe, inclusive, and secure election.”  CTCL recommended the recipient cities to “Encourage and Increase Absentee Voting,” “Dramatically Expand Strategic Voter Education & Outreach Efforts, Particularly to Historically Disenfranchised Residents,” “Launch Poll Worker Recruitment, Training and Safety Efforts,” and “Ensure Safe and Efficient Election Day Administration.” 
In the same press release, the Center for Tech and Civic Life announced it was creating a “COVID-19 Response Rural Grants Program” to provide similar safety measures across the country, which include drive-thru voting options, funds for voting facilities to hire additional staff, and expansions to the vote by mail system.  CTCL noted that it would prioritize certain recipients, especially those that fell under two categories: one being jurisdictions that were required to provide language assistance and have a higher percentage of historically disenfranchised residents, and the other being jurisdictions in states that had recently changed absentee voting laws or rules due to COVID-19. 
The mayors of the major Wisconsin cities which received these funds had sent a letter to CTCL in June requesting, in light of the difficulties election offices had faced during the April 2020 primary and local elections coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, to “work collaboratively” with CTCL in the general election. They outlined the problems they had in the April, highlighted the ways in which they could improve the system (including the need to “Encourage and Increase Absentee Voting”), and calculated the budgetary items they needed, coming to the $6.3 million figure. 
In August 2020, CTCL gave $10 million to the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which went a long way, as Philadelphia’s elections office has an annual budget of about $12.3 million.   CTCL designated the funds for upgrading mail-in ballot processing equipment, setting up 15 election offices for “in-person early voting using mail ballots,” opening 800 polling places in the city, installing at least 15 dropboxes for mail ballots in the city, and giving poll staffers bonuses for working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pennsylvania, like Wisconsin, was a swing state with many potential Democratic voters, and CTCL gave this grant a few months before the 2020 presidential election.
CTCL gave an additional $2.2 million to Delaware County, Pennsylvania. In the summer of 2020, CTCL gave out a total of $15 million in grants. This was significantly more than what CTCL’s average annual budget was in previous years, which was around $1 million.  There is no public indication of where that money came from, as it was before Mark Zuckerberg donated to the cause.
After the November 3rd election, the results of Georgia’s senate race necessitated a runoff election in January 2021. CTCL pledged philanthropic support to Georgia’s election offices to help them process the votes, but laid out a number of restrictions for what the money can be spent on: more personnel, improved voting site features to deal with COVID such as ballot drop boxes and drive-thrus, and voter outreach in the form of “non-partisan voter education” and “voting materials in languages other than English.”  In its proposal, CTCL said that all Georgia counties were eligible to apply for a grant, the minimum amount being $5,000. 
Emails made public in March 2021 showed Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, the Wisconsin leader of the National Vote at Home Institute, offering to help Green Bay election officials “cure” absentee ballots that were missing witness signatures. The National Vote at Home Institute has close ties to CTCL, as CTCL’s founder and executive director is in the “Circle of Advisors” for the National Vote at Home Institute. Spitzer-Rubenstein has a history of working for Democratic campaigns and politicians, having previously interned for Democratic former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. 
Grants By State
According to a spreadsheet published by CTCL indicating preliminary grants awarded as part of its CTCL COVID-19 response program, CTCL made awards to the following number of counties and/or cities in these states (the true number may be higher): 
- Alabama: 7
- Alaska: 2
- Arizona: 9
- Arkansas: 25
- California: 30
- Colorado: 5
- Connecticut: 62
- District of Columbia
- Florida: 12
- Georgia: 43
- Hawaii: 3
- Idaho: 21
- Illinois: 60
- Indiana: 6
- Iowa: 67
- Kansas: 25
- Kentucky: 47
- Maine: 208
- Maryland: 21
- Massachusetts: 266
- Michigan: 474
- Minnesota: 28
- Mississippi: 34
- Missouri: 45
- Montana: 30
- Nebraska: 1
- Nevada: 2
- New Hampshire: 64
- New Jersey: 29
- New Mexico: 13
- New York: 38
- North Carolina: 36
- North Dakota: 43
- Ohio: 46
- Oklahoma: 42
- Oregon: 25
- Pennsylvania: 24
- Rhode Island: 39
- South Carolina: 43
- South Dakota: 36
- Tennessee: 1
- Texas: 116
- Utah: 2
- Vermont: 112
- Virginia: 39
- Washington: 18
- West Virginia: 1
- Wisconsin: 217
Criticism and Controversies
Unlawful Private Funding of Elections Lawsuit (2020)
On October 2, 2021, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry sued the New Venture Fund (the parent organization of the Center for Secure and Modern Elections, or CSME), CTCL, and the consulting firm Full Circle Strategies (which represented both organizations locally) “to prevent the injection of unregulated private money into the Louisiana election system and to protect the integrity of elections in the State by ensuring against the corrosive influence of outside money on Louisiana election officials.” According to the lawsuit, “private contributions to local election officials are unlawful and contrary to the methods for election funding established by law in the State of Louisiana”; the Attorney General sought to have CTCL’s funding declared illegal and be permanently enjoined. 
The lawsuit alleged that CTCL and New Venture Fund (under the name “Center for Secure and Modern Elections”) had unlawfully “targeted 13 parishes” for elections grants, some of which exceeded $500,000, requiring local registrar’s offices to provide “detailed information about [their] operations, conduct, and expenses” in turn. These transactions were allegedly facilitated by Dawn Maisel Cole, the principal for Full Circle Strategies, who “directly solicited registrars and clerks of court to accept contributions from CTCL and New Venture for the operation of their respective offices.” Besides breaking state law, the Attorney General’s office argued that private funding of elections is barred by the Louisiana state legislature and U.S. Congress for “obvious” reasons: 
- The influence that would inevitably accompany private financial contributions to local elections officials;
- Outside donations to local election officials sow distrust in the administration of the election system;
- Private contributions would inevitably spawn competition for party and corporate control over local election funding and would lead to bidding for election favor by party and private interests;
- Private contributors are likely to be political parties or large corporations that have partisan and/or economic objectives to foster with their contributions to election officials;
- Private interests, as in this instance, fund particular parishes and particular aspects of the election that they believe advance their election goals and objectives;
- Should registrars and clerks become reliant upon private funding of their governmental activities, they may well be compelled to respond to the objectives of those providing the funding in order to ensure that the funding continues;
- Such private funding, washed through non-profit organizations, invites the potential for contributions from foreign governments to the Louisiana system and its election officials;
- Private contributions open the door to election suits and contests based upon perceived or actual influence on the part of local election officials in the conduct of an election.
A state judge ruled against the state on October 26, 2020, on the grounds that the Attorney General’s office had “no cause of action” for the lawsuit and it was dismissed. 
Partisan Outcomes of COVID-19 Grants
The Capital Research Center, which publishes InfluenceWatch, has published multiple extensive reports analyzing CTCL’s COVID-19 elections grants in Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
These reports found that, while CTCL did not apparently violate any election laws in funding county elections offices, many of its grants targeted key Democratic-leaning counties and cities in battleground states essential to Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. While CTCL sent grants to many counties that Republican incumbent Donald Trump won in these states, the largest grants went to Biden counties such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. 
Toni Johnson, the Election Commission Chair of Hinds County, Mississippi, accused supervisor David Archie of racketeering, alleging that he doctored internal documents and lied on CTCL’s grant application forms to receive $200,000 for self-use. CTCL awarded Hinds County with $1.5 million for safe election purposes, but Johnson claimed Archie redirected those funds away from voter education and safety measures to ridiculous things like voter awareness tennis matches and COVID-19-proof floor mats. “COVID-19 does not spread on your feet,” Johnson quipped. 
But in July 2021, Johnson resigned as chair of the Hinds County Election Commission after Archie began his own investigation into her alleged misuse of funds provided by the CTCL.  A review of expenses incurred under Johnson’s leadership showed that tens of thousands of dollars were used to purchase food, office supplies, various home appliances, and cleaning and gardening services.  Some of the items purchased, including two 70-inch Samsung flat-screen televisions and a refrigerator, were of different models from the ones listed in Johnson’s requisition form.  Archie also noted that the commission paid a company named New Beginning to conduct two training luncheons, each costing $4,216, although no commission member could remember ever attending them.  Johnson said that Archie’s inquiry was “politically motivated” and that she intended to sue his assistant, Malcom Johnson (no relation), for making false claims about her on his talk show. 
Potentially Illegal Control Over Elections in Wisconsin
In March 2021, an investigation by the Wisconsin Spotlight, a project of the right-leaning Empower Wisconsin Foundation, revealed that CTCL leveraged conditions attached to its grantmaking to exert potentially illegal influence on the administration of elections in Wisconsin’s five largest cities. Emails obtained by the Wisconsin Spotlight, showed that CTCL connected multiple city election administrators to Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein, the Wisconsin state lead for the National Vote at Home Institute, and that Spitzer-Rubenstein rapidly became the “de facto elections chief,” particularly in the city of Green Bay.
In the emails, Spitzer-Rubenstein, who has a history of working for Democratic campaigns, asked former Green Bay city clerk Kris Teske if he could help to correct or “cure” absentee ballots with missing signatures or addresses. When Teske denied the request on the grounds of its questionable legality, Spitzer-Rubenstein followed up with Green Bay’s Democratic mayor who pressured Teske to meet with Spitzer-Rubenstein and allow him to help “cure” absentee ballots. Spitzer-Rubenstein tried to assuage Teske’s concerns by assuring her that he had helped write the ballot curing rules for the city of Milwaukee as well. 
Teske complained several times to her superiors that the “grant advisors” did not know Wisconsin’s election laws, that their involvement was likely illegal, and that her concerns were not being taken seriously. Following the complaints, Teske announced a leave of absence, and submitted her resignation shortly thereafter.
In Teske’s absence, Spitzer-Rubenstein was given control over Green Bay’s election process. Emails show that Spitzer-Reubenstein helped to decide the specifics of ballot handling and transportation rules and had access to the KI Convention Center, where ballots were counted, two days before the election. Emails from the former Brown County Clerk, Sandy Juno, show that Spitzer-Rubenstein was even given four of the five keys to the room where ballots were stored “several days before the election.” As the Wisconsin Spotlight describes it “The city of Green Bay literally gave the keys to the election to a Democratic Party operative from New York.” 
Juno, too, raised concerns about Spitzer-Rubenstein’s unfettered access to the Green Bay election process. Juno later told the Wisconsin Elections Commission that she believed the central count location at the KI Convention Center “was tainted by the influence of a person working for an outside organization affecting the election.” Juno also claimed that, in the months before the election, Green Bay had totally broken off communications with the Brown County Clerk’s Office, and “went rogue.” Immediately following the election, Juno retired from her position in January 2021.
Other emails, also obtained by the Wisconsin Spotlight, show that Spitzer-Rubenstein contacted the city of Wuawatosa’s interim county clerk, Cindi Dluaney, to connect her with Natalia Espina, a Wisconsin leader for Power the Polls, a left-leaning poll worker recruitment group. Espina also serves as the operations director at Voces de la Frontera, a Wisconsin based left-of-center immigration advocacy group.
Democrat-Leaning Counties Given a Head Start
In June 2021, reports showed that predominantly Democratic counties in Pennsylvania were given a head start in applying for CTCL election grants by the Pennsylvania Department of State.  Emails obtained through Right-to-Know requests revealed that officials in the Democratic strongholds of Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery Counties were already discussing the existence of CTCL funding in August 2020 even though most other counties were not sent an invitation to apply for a grant until September 1, 2020.
The emails showed that Delaware County officials had sent completed applications for CTCL grant money to the Pennsylvania Department of State as early as August 6, and the Philadelphia Commissioners office applied for a $10 million grant on August 7 and received the funding on August 21. 
Reports also showed that emails first introducing Delaware County officials to the idea of CTCL grants in July 2020 were also shared with partisan Democratic operatives.  In July 2020, Delaware County Councilwoman, Christine Reuther, received an email from Gwen Camp, a former staffer for the Obama Administration, that discussed the possibility of CTCL funding. Kevin Mack, an employee of the left-leaning political consulting firm Deliver Strategies and chief strategist of Need to Impeach, a Democrat aligned super PAC that opposed President Donald Trump was also copied in the email. Mack’s employee biography claims that he was the “Lead Strategist for The Voter Project in Pennsylvania which was instrumental in signing up over 3.2 million people to vote by mail and leading the soft-side effort to win the swing state in 2020.” 
CTCL Grant Analysis by State (2020)
The following information comes from various reports on CTCL spending made by the Capital Research Center (CRC), which publishes InfluenceWatch. For the original reports, see Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
CRC has traced at least $3,968,221 in CTCL grants flowing to 39 of Virginia’s 133 counties and independent cities (a Virginia jurisdiction equivalent to a county), including one grant of an unknown amount to Hanover County (see endnotes for FOIA documents).  
CTCL funded 14 of the 46 counties and cities Biden won in 2020, yet these 14 jurisdictions received 89.8 percent ($3,563,610) of all the known funds CTCL directed towards Virginia. They also accounted for 1,071,615 votes for Biden, or 44 percent of his statewide total.  
The ten largest CTCL grants in Virginia (including the candidate who won them and the grant amounts) went to: 
- Fairfax County (Biden): $1,431,950
- Prince William County (Biden): $631,421
- Henrico County (Biden): $411,822
- Loudoun County (Biden): $355,760
- Arlington County (Biden): $256,688
- Alexandria (Biden): $201,650
- Petersburg (Biden): $81,890
- Powhatan County (Trump): $67,778
- Lynchburg (Biden): $63,882
- Halifax County (Trump): $55,270
In Fairfax County, the state’s largest county by population, filed for a 6-month extension to its CTCL grant in January 2021; it also reported spending CTCL funds in the following categories: 
- $967,294 for “temporary staffing support”
- $59,850 for “vote-by-mail/absentee voting equipment or supplies”
- $102,765 for “election administration equipment”
- $54,802 for “voting materials in languages other than English”
- $58,530 for “security for office and polling locations”
The budget for Loudoun County’s election department was $2.3 million and its CTCL grant added an additional $355,760, the 4th-highest recipient of CTCL funds in Virginia and the equivalent of 15.5 percent of its original budget. Loudoun County applied for a grant to fund the following:  
- $3,021 for “non-partisan voter education”
- $40,000 for “poll worker recruitment funds, hazard pay, and/or training expenses”
- $230,000 for “temporary staffing”
- $80,789 for “vote-by-mail/absentee voting equipment or supplies”
- $1,950 for “election administration equipment
Loudoun County’s original grant application also included plans to spend CTCL funds on “personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff, poll workers, or voters,” but its final grant report indicated no money spent on PPE. In the grant report returned to CTCL on January 6, 2021, the county also indicated that, were its annual elections budget “permanently doubled,” it would aim to accomplish “improved voter education” and “increased election official training.” The county also wrote in its grant report:  
This grant was unbelievably helpful and a major component of our ability to run an incredibly smooth and issue free election. Early voting was implemented for the first time in Virginia. We went from 14,000 ‘pre-election day voters’ in 2016 to 90,000 this year. Being able to improve the technology and expand our capabilities meant this went off without a hitch. Voters were thrilled with the process, the safety and security, and mostly with the fact that our max wait at any given time was about 15 minutes.
CRC has traced $22,069,215 in CTCL grants flowing to 24 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, including two unidentified grants to Armstrong and Bucks Counties. 
These 24 counties delivered 20,38,017 votes to Republican Donald Trump (15 percent above 2016 figures) and 2,724,780 to Democrat Joe Biden (20 percent above 2016 figures) in the 2020 election. Additionally, these counties held roughly 8.9 million residents in 2020, or approximately 68.5 percent of Pennsylvania’s 13 million residents. Pennsylvania’s remaining 44 counties provided Trump with 1.37 million votes and Biden with 773,504 votes.  
CTCL grants to counties Trump won averaged $0.57 per capita and $3.11 per capita in counties Biden won.
CTCL funded 11 of the 14 counties Biden won in 2020, including Erie County, which voted for Trump in 2016 and flipped in 2020; these 11 counties accounted for $10.37 million (47 percent) of all known CTCL grants to Pennsylvania. In contrast, CTCL funded 13 of the 53 counties Trump won in 2020, yet total grants to these jurisdictions only totaled $1.73 million, or 7.8 percent of all grants to the state.
Vote increases between 2016 and 2020 rose higher in CTCL-funded counties than in unfunded counties. In funded counties, Trump received an additional 265,419 votes and Biden received an additional 458,206 votes; in unfunded counties, Trump received another 200,587 votes and Biden received another 158,818 votes over 2016 turnout.
The ten largest CTCL grants in Pennsylvania (including the candidate who won them and the grant amounts) went to: 
- Philadelphia (Biden): $10,016,074
- Chester (Biden): $2,558,080
- Delaware (Biden): $2,200,000
- Allegheny (Biden): $2,052,251
- Montgomery (Biden): $1,167,000
- Centre (Biden): $863,828
- Lehigh (Biden): $762,635
- Dauphin (Biden): $482,165
- Lancaster (Trump): $474,201
- Berks (Trump): $470,929
CRC has traced $33,539,950 in CTCL grants to 118 of Texas’ 254 counties, including one grant of $250,973 from the USC Schwarzenegger Institute to Cameron County. However, only 20 grant amounts have been identified (as of June 2020).  These counties account for roughly 20 million of Texas’ 29 million residents.
CTCL gave grants to 101 of the 231 counties (44 percent) Republican Donald Trump won in 2020 and 17 of the 22 counties (77 percent) Democrat Joe Biden won that year. Three CTCL-funded counties (Williamson, Hays, Tarrant) that voted for Trump in 2016 flipped to Biden in 2020. Zapata County, which voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 and flipped to Trump in 2020, received a CTCL grant of unknown size.
In total, CTCL-funded counties provided Trump with 3.94 million votes and Biden with 4.18 million votes. CTCL-funded counties won by Trump earned him 1.45 million votes, or less than 25 percent of his statewide total of 5.89 million votes. CTCL-funded counties won by Biden earned him 3.64 million, or 69 percent of his statewide total of 5.26 million votes.  
CTCL grants to counties Trump won averaged $0.55 per capita and $3.22 per capita in counties Biden won (of the $33.5 million in discovered grants).
Vote increases between 2016 and 2020 rose higher in CTCL-funded counties than in unfunded counties. In funded counties, Trump received an additional 822,551 votes and Biden received an additional 1,059,651 votes; in unfunded counties, Trump received another 382,926 votes and Biden received another 335,145 votes over 2016 turnout.
Biden’s biggest gains (exceeding 100,000 votes over 2016 turnout) were in the counties covering Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Fort Worth, and netted him 2.8 million votes, over half of his 5.3 million votes statewide. All of these counties received substantial CTCL grants totaling $27,775,142, or 83 percent of all grants CRC has traced to Texas. Of these five, two cities (Houston and Dallas) received nearly $25 million of this sum between them. Dallas’ $15 million grant is the largest grant yet identified anywhere in the country.
The ten largest CTCL grants in Texas (including the candidate who won them and the grant amounts) went to: 
- Dallas (Biden): $15,130,433
- Harris (Biden): $9,600,000
- Webb (Biden): $2,820,960
- Bexar (Biden): $1,900,000
- Cameron (Biden): $1,853,729
- Travis (Biden): $1,144,709
- Hays (Biden): $289,075
- Williamson (Biden): $263,644
- Ellis (Trump): $86,424
- Parker (Trump): $54,072
CRC has traced $5,395,114 to 35 of North Carolina 100 counties, including one grant of $1 million to the North Carolina Department of State, with seven grant amounts still unknown (as of June 2021).  Together these counties contain 4.47 million of the state’s 10.49 million residents.
CTCL gave grants to 26 of the 75 counties Republican Donald Trump won in 2020, totaling $1,007,694, or 18.67 percent of the total known grants in the state. CTCL gave grants to 9 of the 25 counties Democrat Joe Biden won in the 2020 election, totaling $3,387,420, or 62.78 percent of the total known grants in North Carolina. Two counties flipped from Trump to Biden between 2016 and 2020 (Nash and New Hanover) and one county, Scotland, flipped from Democrat Hillary Clinton to Trump between 2016 and 2020; no CTCL grants have been traced to these counties.
In total, CTCL-funded counties provided Trump with 1.14 million votes and Biden with 1.27 million votes. CTCL-funded counties won by Trump earned him 654,604 votes, or 23.7 percent of his statewide total of 2.76 million votes. CTCL-funded counties won by Biden earned him 923,354 votes, or 34.4 percent of his statewide total of 2.68 million votes.  
In CTCL-funded counties, Trump gained an average of 18 percent more votes than he did in 2016 for a total of 1,140,004 additional votes. Biden gained an average of 25 percent more votes than did his predecessor, Hillary Clinton, in 2016 for a total of 1,014,873 additional votes.
In counties that did not receive CTCL grants, Trump gained an average of 18 percent more votes over his 2016 figures for a total of 1,618,769 votes. Biden gained an average of 23 percent more votes than in 2016 for a total of 1,415,014.
CTCL grants to counties Trump won averaged $0.73 per capita and $1.46 per capita in counties Biden won (of the $5.4 million in discovered grants).
The ten largest CTCL grants in North Carolina (including the candidate who won them and the grant amounts) went to: 
- Durham (Biden): $1,466,840
- Wake (Biden): $1 million
- North Carolina Department of State: $1 million
- Guilford (Biden): $366,000
- Orange (Biden): $292,255
- Buncombe (Biden): $135,881
- Johnston (Trump): $112,054
- Alamance (Trump): $101,061
- Iredell (Trump): $96,648
- Catawba (Trump): $91,068
CRC has traced CTCL grants totaling $7,449,258 in Michigan. How these grants were disseminated county-by-county is unclear, because CTCL reported its grants to individual towns and cities in Michigan and Wisconsin, not county elections offices as it did in other states. 
The ten largest recipients of CTCL grants in Michigan were: 
- Detroit (Biden): $3,512,000
- Flint (Biden): $475,625
- Lansing (Biden): $443,742
- Muskegon (Biden): $433,580
- Ann Arbor (Biden): $417,000
- Pontiac (Biden): $405,564
- Saginaw (Biden): $402,878
- Grand Rapids (Biden): $280,000
- Kalamazoo (Biden): $218,869
- Eastpointe (Trump): $204,000
CRC has traced CTCL grants totaling $6,671,844 in Wisconsin. How these grants were disseminated county-by-county is unclear, because CTCL reported its grants to individual towns and cities in Michigan and Wisconsin, not county elections offices as it did in other states. Wisconsin, not county elections offices as it did in other states. 
The six largest recipients of CTCL grants in Wisconsin were: 
- Milwaukee (Milwaukee County; Biden): $2,154,500
- Madison (Dane County; Biden): $1,271,788
- Green Bay (Brown County; Trump): $1,093,400
- Racine (Racine County; Trump): $942,100
- Kenosha (Kenosha County; Trump): $862,779
- Janesville (Rock County; Biden): $183,292
In Georgia, CRC has traced $27,837,728 in grants to 43 of the state’s 159 counties, with 25 of the grant amounts remaining unknown (as of June 2021). Together these counties account for 7.2 million of Georgia’s 10.62 million residents.   The right-of-center Foundation for Government Accountability, a watchdog group, has traced a total of $45 million from CTCL to Georgia in a May 2021 report. 
CTCL grants flowed to 26 of the 129 counties Republican Donald Trump won in 2020, totaling $769,764, or 2.77 percent of the $27.8 million CRC has discovered in the state. (20 of the 24 counties that received funding but whose grant amounts remain unconfirmed were won by Trump, so the true figure is higher.) CTCL grants flowed to 16 of the 30 counties Democrat Joe Biden won that year, totaling $26,842,685, or 96.4 percent of all $27.8 million in discovered grants.
The 43 counties that received CTCL grants gave Trump 1,387,836 votes and Biden 1,994,327 votes. In the CTCL-funded counties that Trump won, he earned 569,200 votes, or 23.1 percent of the 2.46 million votes he netted statewide. In the CTCL-funded counties that Biden won, he earned 1,720,388 votes, or 69.5 percent of the 2.47 million votes he netted statewide.  
Vote increases between 2016 and 2020 rose higher in CTCL-funded counties than in unfunded counties. In funded counties, Trump received an additional 204,681 votes (17 percent increase) and Biden received an additional 524,638 votes (36 percent increase). In unfunded counties, Trump received another 180,752 votes over 2016 turnout (20 percent increase) while Biden received another 132,649 votes (32 percent increase).
CTCL grants to counties Trump won averaged $4.28 per capita and $5.06 per capita in counties Biden won (of the $27.8 million in discovered grants). However, these numbers are rough, and only account for counties where grant amounts have been confirmed; 20 of the 24 counties that received funding but whose grant amounts remain unknown were won by Trump, so the true figure will vary.
The top ten recipients of CTCL funding, with the winner and grant amount, are below: 
- Fulton (Biden): $6 million
- Cobb (Biden): $5.6 million
- Gwinnett (Biden): $4.1 million
- Dekalb (Biden): $4 million
- Clayton (Biden): $3,060,197
- Douglas (Biden): $1,662,490
- Cherokee (Trump): $611,293
- Macon-Bibb (Biden): $557,000
- Henry (Biden): $487,793
- Muscogee (Biden): $412,245
CRC has traced $5,027,389 to 9 of Arizona’s 15 counties, accounting for 6.6 million of the state’s 7.3 million residents. 
Democrat Joe Biden won 5 of Arizona’s 15 counties, 4 of which received CTCL grants. These 4 counties contained 1,413,746 of Biden’s votes, or nearly 85 of the 1.67 million votes he earned statewide, and hold roughly 79 percent of the state’s total population. In contrast, CTCL funded 5 of the 10 counties Trump won, containing 187,146 of the 1.66 million votes he won statewide (11 percent) and housing 11.6 percent of the total population.
Four of the nine counties that received CTCL funding have unconfirmed amounts; three of those four were won by Trump, so exact figures are still unknown (as of June 2021). However, CTCL grants heavily favored counties won by Biden. $4,203,816, or 83.6 percent of all known grants in Arizona, went to just three counties that Biden won: Apache, Coconino, and Maricopa, the latter of which was the only county to flip statewide.
Per capita, CTCL grants in counties Biden won averaged $5.83 and $1.29 in counties that Trump won.
All known recipients of CTCL funding, with the winner and grant amount, are below: 
- Maricopa (Biden): $2,995,921
- Pinal (Trump): $806,042
- Coconino (Biden): $614,692
- Apache (Biden): $593,203
- La Paz (Trump): $17,531
CRC has traced $2,671,515 to two of Nevada’s 17 counties, accounting for 2.74 million of the state’s 3 million residents. 
These two counties, Clark (centered on Las Vegas) and Washoe (centered on Reno), were the only counties Democrat Joe Biden won in 2020 and accounted for 649,980 votes, or 92.4 percent of all his votes statewide. Republican Donald Trump received 547,690 votes in these two CTCL-funded counties, or 81.76 percent of his statewide total.   
Funding and Support
Funding from Mark Zuckerberg (2020)
On September 1, 2020, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced they were donating $250 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life and $50 million to the Center for Election Innovation & Research.  Shortly after, CTCL stated its plans to regrant the money to local election jurisdictions across the United States to help them process mailed-in ballots and meet sanitation requirements imposed on polling stations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
In October 2020, Zuckerberg and Chan announced they were donating an additional $100 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life despite the first round of grants sparking controversy among conservatives, leading some groups to file lawsuits. “Since our initial donation, there have been multiple lawsuits filed in an attempt to block these funds from being used, based on claims that the organizations receiving donations have a partisan agenda. That’s false,” Zuckerberg said. 
Other Donors to CTCL
Besides the large sum Zuckerberg and Chan gave to CTCL, CTCL has received financial and other assistance from several center-left foundations and advocacy organizations.
In April 2020 the Skoll Foundation awarded CTCL a $1.5 million grant.  And for donation years 2015 through 2017 the charitable recordkeeping service FoundationSearch reports more than $1.3 million in total donations to CTCL from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as well as at least $690,000 from the Democracy Fund to CTCL, and another $10,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to CTCL. 
On its “Key Funders and Partners” web page, the Center for Tech and Civic Life also credits these organizations as having “supported” its work:
- Rock the Vote
- Center for Civic Design
- Women Donors Network
- Center for Democracy and Technology
- The Voting Information Project (project of Democracy Works)
CTCL’s Form 990 filing covering February 2019 through January 2020 is available here.
Tiana Epps-Johnson is the founder, executive director, and president of the Center for Tech and Civic Life. Before joining the Center, she was the election administration director of the New Organizing Institute from 2012 to 2015. The New Organizing Institute was a major training center for left-of-center Democratic digital activists from its founding in 2005 to its dissolution in 2015. Epps-Johnson had also worked at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, helping with its Voting Rights Project.  She also sits on CTCL’s board of directors.
Whitney May is the co-founder and director of CTCL’s government services department. She had previously worked on the Voting Information Project at the New Organizing Institute. 
Donny Bridges is the co-founder and director of CTCL’s civic data department. Prior to joining CTCL, he worked as the election administration research director at the New Organizing Institute from 2012 to 2015. 
The Center for Tech and Civic Life’s board of directors includes Pam Anderson, the owner of the nonprofit management consulting firm Consilium Colorado; Tammy Patrick, a senior advisor to the elections program at Pierre Omidyar‘s Democracy Fund, a left-of-center policy foundation; Sureel Sheth, vice president of JMI Equity in San Diego, a growth equity firm; and Cristina Sinclaire, the senior vice president of Clarity Campaign Labs. Sinclaire previously worked at Catalist, providing data to over 200 progressive organizations, and at the New Organizing Institute, researching voting laws and building data tools. 
Board of Advisors
CTCL’s board of advisors consists of a number of former and current elections divisions officers for various jurisdictions in the United States. 
Kim A. Barton is supervisor of elections for Alachua County, Florida. In September 2020, CTCL awarded Alachua County $707,606 as part of its COVID-19 relief grants; Barton is listed as the recipient of the grant in her capacity as supervisor of elections. 
Toni Pippins-Poole is elections administrator for Dallas County, Texas. In September 2020, CTCL awarded Dallas County $15,130,433 as part of its COVID-19 relief grants. 
Grace Wachlarowicz is assistant city clerk to the Minneapolis, Minnesota director of elections and voter services. In September 2020, CTCL awarded Minneapolis $2,297,342 in COVID-19 relief grants. 
Maurice Turner is senior advisor to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
Tim Tsujii is director of elections for the Forsyth County, North Carolina board of elections.
Whitney Quesenbery is director for the Center for Civic Design.
Ricky Hatch is clerk/auditor for Weber County, Utah.
Joanna Francescut is assistant county clerk and registrar of voters for Shasta County, California.
Norelys R. Consuegra is deputy director of elections for the Rhode Island secretary of state.
Indira Arriaga is language assistance compliance manager for Alaska division of elections.